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Should game designer cite their source of inspiration?

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larienna
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In the scientific world, all articles and books written contains a list of sources used by the author that you could refer too if you want double check certain information.

Since most games borrow mechanics and ideas from other games, I wonder if it could be a good practice to proceed the same way.

One of the advantage is that if you like a certain mechanics in a game, you might be tempted to find the source used by the author in order to see if you like the game.

It's also a way of preventing the miss conception that you "stole" a mechanic from somewhere else. By citing, you give credit to the original author.

Of course, sometimes you are not even aware of your inspiration source, so it might be hard to list them all. But citing the most important one, or those you know might be a good start.

Do you think there could be an interest in doing that?

Jay103
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larienna wrote:In the

larienna wrote:
In the scientific world, all articles and books written contains a list of sources used by the author that you could refer too if you want double check certain information.

Since most games borrow mechanics and ideas from other games, I wonder if it could be a good practice to proceed the same way.

One of the advantage is that if you like a certain mechanics in a game, you might be tempted to find the source used by the author in order to see if you like the game.

It's also a way of preventing the miss conception that you "stole" a mechanic from somewhere else. By citing, you give credit to the original author.

Of course, sometimes you are not even aware of your inspiration source, so it might be hard to list them all. But citing the most important one, or those you know might be a good start.

Do you think there could be an interest in doing that?


Yes, people do that sort of thing, if it's relevant.

The game I'm doing I'm sure has elements in common with other, earlier games. I didn't borrow those elements on purpose, so there's not much point in my trying to track them down just to cite them.

But other developers have certainly borrowed intentionally. Which is FINE. And there's really no problem with mentioning the inspirations.

A quote from https://stonemaiergames.com/kickstarter-lesson-43-press-releases/

"Jamey Stegmaier" wrote:
Game lovers familiar with the dice in Alien Frontiers and the worker-placement/removal mechanics in The Manhattan Project and Tzolk’in will feel right at home in Euphoria.

But at the same time, I'm not sure exactly where you're thinking these things would be cited. In the game manual? Probably not.

lewpuls
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Many of the games that

Many of the games that heavily borrow from my Britannia do not cite Britannia as the source. Perhaps fear of rights entanglements?

In the scientific world, citations play a big role in university compensation for researchers. And plagiarism is the kiss of death. No such incentive in games.

McTeddy
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lewpuls wrote:Many of the

lewpuls wrote:
Many of the games that heavily borrow from my Britannia do not cite Britannia as the source. Perhaps fear of rights entanglements?

This is exactly the reason I usually recommend people don't mention other games when talking officially. I come from the video game world and there is some harsh protections by some companies.

I've even contacted some publishers regarding this and the advice to me was "Just don't mention us or our work." because that can come off as using their status to market your own commercial venture.

- -

Scientific papers don't cite inspiration, they cite sources of specific data/quotes/facts. Inspiration is a much broader term and it can come from unrelated sources.

One of my latest projects has two direct "Inspiration" games, but has zero physical resemblance to either.

The mechanics are unique. The theme is different. Even if they were closer to the same, they have been evolved and twisted and re-balanced in a way that makes it an entirely different game.

In the end, projects are made up of hundreds of inspirations. Whether it's a movie, a game, conversations, or things we see in the outside world. It's our own blend of secret herbs and spices that craft the full experience.

questccg
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I did this for "TradeWorlds"!

McTeddy wrote:
In the end, projects are made up of hundreds of inspirations. Whether it's a movie, a game, conversations, or things we see in the outside world. It's our own blend of secret herbs and spices that craft the full experience.

IMHO you impose some form of "I was inspired by" ... forcefully, it might lead to people wanting MONEY or royalties because of it. Take "TradeWorlds", we had to change the name from "Tradewars" because the owner of a Video Game for BBSs in the 1990s had made a TradeMark of his game's name. He wanted 3% of the KS total funding and 6% of any and all future sales... In reality his TradeMark did NOT cover "Board and Card Games". It was a TradeMark for Video Games. But we didn't want to chance it, and now he has precedent and can argue that "We" didn't use his name of "Board and Card Games" meaning that he could now be protected from anyone using his name in our business.

But getting back to "inspiration", I can firmly state that I did so on my Facebook page:

  • Magic: The Gathering = Instant Take-That cards.
  • Monopoly = Dice Rolling and Set Collection for our initiative rolls.
  • Uno = Hand Management tightly linked with Set Collection.
  • Puerto Rico = For Role selection.
  • Dominion = Obviously for the Deck-Building mechanic.

This information is available on the "TradeWorlds TCG" Facebook page... At the very EARLIEST time in the timeline (November 19th 2015)!

But people liked the comparison and knowing what inspired me to make the game too! So I think people DO IT, just not mandatory.

gxnpt
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game as novel vs game as academia

Think of the author's notes in a novel - may include dedication and thanks etc.

But is not an academic exercise so footnotes not required.

larienna
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Quote:Many of the games that

Quote:
Many of the games that heavily borrow from my Britannia do not cite Britannia as the source. Perhaps fear of rights entanglements?

I did it! (^_^)

Quote:
I've even contacted some publishers regarding this and the advice to me was "Just don't mention us or our work." because that can come off as using their status to market your own commercial venture.

Would that not be beneficial for both parties?

When People clone apps like Candy Crush, that is some what their objective, but in that case, it's worst because they try to replace the original. While when you make a game inspired on other games, you do not attempt to replace the original.

lewpuls
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larienna wrote:Many of the

larienna wrote:
Quote:
Many of the games that heavily borrow from my Britannia do not cite Britannia as the source. Perhaps fear of rights entanglements?

I did it! (^_^)

Just out of curiousity, what game was that, larienna?

McTeddy
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Quote: Would that not be

Quote:
Would that not be beneficial for both parties?

When People clone apps like Candy Crush, that is some what their objective, but in that case, it's worst because they try to replace the original. While when you make a game inspired on other games, you do not attempt to replace the original.

Two things to keep in mind before I answer: #1 I talked to the lower end of the totem pole and #2 I'm not an expert of their POV just trying to reason things out.

Publishers pay ALOT of money building their audience. They spend years developing their brand recognition, their google algorithms, their market share. They don't want other people being able to profit or modify their investment.

An actual example was DoomRL and Jupiter Hell. DoomRL had been on the market for a decade as a free game. Bethesda was obviously aware, but as free fan game they looked the other way. Within 24 hours of Jupiter Hell appearing on kickstarter, Bethesda filed the claim and only required him to rename DoomRL to D**mRL and to take down the references on the kickstarter.

To Bethesda, it was that with a commercial venture the person was leapfrogging onto their marketing. Google searches for Doom game went to -his- commercial venture. They can't control the image that his game creates... but it will impact the full Doom Brand and it might create a divide in which direction fans want it to go.

I've seen a couple other cases where games were full-blown sued by companies because of the stated inspiration (Chroma Squad, Hex: Shards of Fate). Even if there was evolution involved or more inspirations... it was in writing that "I was inspired by these companies".

If it's not in writing, I can say "Totally my ideas. That is an awesome coincidence."

- - -

As for the people I talked to, they were telling me not to
"Just in case".

If a more diligent sort is doing google searches for their product and they find yours they'll likely look closer at it. If they can find enough similarities to the original to make a case... they can.

One of the court items used in the "Hex Vs. Magic" case was images of their "Wild Growth" card. To me? It looked like an intentional callback to magic the gathering. It was like a silly Easter egg that they put in to show off their inspiration. But, this made a stronger case for Wizards.

I'm not judging either side on the case, but just pointing out that there can be a downside in openly admitting inspirations.

- - -

I can even think of a few cases in board games such as Reiner Knizia and Flash Duel.

larienna
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Thanks for the info. It seems

Thanks for the info. It seems that in the video game industry, people have a less cooperative mindset.

Quote:
Just out of curiousity, what game was that, larienna?

It was "Fallen Kingdoms"?

I posted news about my game here on BGDF when it was released and got surprised that you answered the thread because I did not know you were on this forum at that time.

I revised a few rules in the following 3 years of it's release. One of the major change the combat system, I decided to diverge from Britania to resolve battle faster.

It's now free PnP, so feel free to download.

McTeddy
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Not at all. It's just that

Not at all. It's just that they tend to be bigger.

Bigger companies have more need to protect their investments. I don't know the details of this, but I've heard that, legally, you have to protect the IP to continue owning it.

Remember Games Workshop suing the author that wrote a book called "Space Marine" that had no came out other similarities to their work? I've seen Fantasy Flight do a similar things and I've seen more than a few cases where smaller designers/publishers were upset but couldn't afford to fight a full legal battle.

The bigger companies WILL eat you alive if you infringe on their work... especially if it involves you taking even a small chunk of their market.

Lovac
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I would mention where my

I would mention where my inspiration comes from, out of respect for creators and mainly since those are the games i love.

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